photography by GOOGLE
Google Home is so much more than a chic speaker with voice command capabilities. Yes, your system can answer pretty much any question under the sun—it is a Google product, after all—and comes equipped with extensive knowledge of Bollywood music, but it is also a one-stop shop when it comes to planning and organizing your day-to-day life.
Thanks to innovative technology, the Google Assistant-powered Google Home is highly personalized, allowing you to keep one personal assistant across all your devices. It has multi-user voice recognition and allows verbal shortcuts (like subbing in “rise and shine” for “turn on the lights to 80 percent brightness”) to help make your life easier. It also has some sneaky talents you might not have known about. At a recent event, we learned about nine of the most creative uses for your Google Home (which you can buy here).
Need to book a last-minute vacation or hunt around for the best deal on airfare? Google Assistant can help you plan a trip in coordination with your schedule and even check the status of your reservations. With options to filter by stops (“Find me non-stop flights”), airlines, or dates, finding the perfect destination for a relaxing solo getaway has never been easier.
When our writer put the Home to the test, she found it to be wonderful for occupying curious children. Backed by the full strength of Google’s arsenal of knowledge, the Google Assistant has the answer to pretty much every question your kids might have. It also tells jokes, plays games like trivia and mad libs, sings to you, and can talk like Yoda—the latter of which is always a great skill to keep on hand.
A Virtual Planner
Incorporating every Google service you use daily, Google Home is the most efficient virtual planner ever. It knows your personal calendar and your location, and can use those to warn you about the weather, read you relevant news, or cancel plans. It’s also compatible with Allo (Google’s chat app), letting you make plans with friends by pulling up nearby attractions or restaurants and making you a reservation on the spot.
Here’s how it works: Say you’re planning on meeting a friend for sushi across town and are trying to pick a restaurant. Simply pull up your Allo chat, type in “@Google where are some nearby sushi restaurants?” and let your Assistant do the work.
Make working out easy (or as easy as extensive exercise can be) with Google Assistant, which syncs with Google Fit to create a customized workout. Want to find the best path for a run? Play dance music videos on your TV? Set up timers for stretching and interval training? Ask Google. “Meditation is really awesome—just say 'talk to Headspace' to walk through a meditation routine,” suggests Chrissy Perisco, head of consumer PR for Google.
Command Your Other Household Objects
Google Home is compatible with more than 70 smart home devices like Phillips Hue smart lighting (turn your lights on and off or have them change color) and Nest (set your thermostat to the perfect temperature remotely). You can even operate your Roomba with the Google Assistant.
The Ultimate Movie Night Tool
Google Home syncs with Chromecast to bring you your favorite movies and TV shows across all devices. And when you sync your Home to your Netflix account it remembers where you left off, leaving you to binge-watch in peace without interruption. Using voice command you can pull up YouTube on your screen, ask for recommendations, or even pause whatever you’re watching and ask for clarification on a plot point; which, if you’re a fan of The Young Pope but need a refresher on the intricacies of Catholicism, is definitely useful. Can’t settle on a film for movie night? Ask your Google Home to flip a coin and help you decide.
All the benefits of having a live-in chef, minus the cost. While Google Assistant’s culinary capabilities were unveiled a few months ago, the full scope of the virtual assistant’s usefulness is super impressive. Using voice command, your Google Home will pull from over five million recipes from over 44,000 websites including popular food blogs and magazines to find the perfect recipe for you. If you find a dish on your phone you want to try out, simply command “send to Google Home” to have your Assistant read it out to you, step by step. You can even cast cooking videos from your Home onto a screen for a more visual experience.
The kitchen is where the Assistant’s multi-tasking capabilities really shine: Google Home is the only virtual assistant that lets you multitask. So while you’re baking your brownies, you can also listen to a podcast or the news, ask for ingredient substitutions, or jam out to your favorite playlist. No sticky fingers ruining a cookbook or a screen necessary.
You know when you go to a supermarket, confident that you remember everything that you need, only to return home and realize you forgot to pick up an essential ingredient for dinner? Bid dressing-less salad goodbye with the Assistant’s shopping list tool: Add things to your list on the go and use it later when you’re ready to go shopping. And since you can access the Assistant across all your devices, you can ask the Google Home in your kitchen to add an item as soon as you realize you’re out of it and use your phone at the store to remind you.
It is a speaker, after all: play and control music from your favorite services or listen to the radio. Pull up a playlist for the Home to play while you’re going about your day, and pause or skip songs simply by using your voice. Looking for a more unique musical sound? The Google Home can also beatbox. No, really.